Eight Steps for New York Giants to Crush the Off-season

Eight Steps for New York Giants to Crush the Off-season

Here’s what we would consider doing to fix the New York Giants for 2024.

The New York Giants have a lot of work to do this off-season after a 6-11 season, which pretty much exposed some glaring roster issues the team has.


General manager Joe Schoen, head coach Brian Daboll, and the rest of the football operations team are thought to be hard at work in identifying what exactly went wrong in 2023 and how to ensure there is no repeat.


Schoen and Daboll, meanwhile, have been working with the rest of the coaches and front office to figure out which players to keep, which ones to move on from, and how to fill the gaps (draft or free agency).


At the end of the day, it will result in a very different-looking Giants roster in 2024, one that will hopefully have better results than last year’s group.


Find some more cap space

According to Over the Cap, the Giants currently have $15,110,328 in effective cap space (used to sign players under the Top 51 rule, which begins on the first day of the new league year) and $22.943 million in total cap space.


That’s probably not enough to get much done, especially if they plan to use the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley (more on that later).


The problem the Giants have with their cap this year is they have three veteran contracts–quarterback Tyrod Taylor, defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson, and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson–who have voidable years this year, which means that the Giants aren’t saving a penny on those transactions but will be getting hit with $6.488 million in dead money thanks to those voidable years. That’s money that could have otherwise been devoted to signing other players.


At first glance, it’s probably a given that guard Mark Glowinski ($5.7 million savings) will be a cap casualty. Tight end Darren Waller could also be a cap casualty, but with only a $6.707 million savings and over $7 million in dead money, it’s more likely that he gets another season.


What the Giants are likely going to need to do is extend/rework a few deals. Receiver Darius Slayton ($7.75 million base salary), left tackle Andrew Thomas ($14.175 million), and defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence ($16 million base salary) all come to mind as possibilities.


If we’re Joe Schoen, the first and only moves we make for the time being are to give Slayton a slight extension(maybe another two years, with one being a voidable season) and restructure Thomas’s deal to convert part of his base salary into an upfront signing bonus. That would push some of the converted prorated signing bonus to 2028, the first year of the original structure where Thomas doesn’t have any prorated money on the books (prorated signing bonuses can only be spread over a maximum of five years).


Decide What to Do with RB Saquon Barkley

In not being able to reach a new multiyear contract with running back Saquon Barkley, the Giants are right back to square one, in which they have to decide whether to tag Barkley again (this time for an estimated $12.419 million).


That money, if used, comes straight out of whatever cap space the Giants might have available, regardless if Barkley signs the deal. And if last year is any indication, Barkley isn’t looking to sign another franchise tag any time soon.


So here’s the problem. The Giants, unlike last year, when they had the time and the cap space to wait out Barkley, do not have that luxury this year, not after a 6-11 season that exposed a lot of needs the roster has.


Schoen hasn’t closed the door on getting a deal done with Barkley, who continues to reiterate a desire to be a Giant for life, and the two sides are expected to speak at the combine, which begins in a couple of weeks. But any deal has to be just as much of a right of a fit for the Giants as it does for the running back, who is another year older and went through another lower-body injury (high ankle sprain).


So here’s a very real possibility. If they don’t get a win-win deal for all parties done with Barkley by the end of the franchise tag window, the Giants will use the tag to keep Barkley from hitting the open market to continue working on resolving the stalemate.


To simply not tag Barkley and let him test the market on the condition that he bring any offers back to the Giants to match doesn’t make sense for the sole reason that if the Giants can’t match an offer he receives, they get nothing for losing arguably one of their best players on offense last year. (They’re not assured a comp pick in 2025, as that would depend on what the team does in free agency that could potentially cancel out any losses.)


If the two sides can’t break their stalemate before the draft, then it makes sense for the Giants, who right now have seven draft picks, four of which are in the top 100, to see if they can move the running back to another team in exchange for yet another pick in the top 100.


Remember, Schoen expressed some giddiness at his season-ending press conference about having the majority of his upcoming draft class consist of premium picks. Just imagine how much more he’d be if he could add to that, especially since the Giants are not projected to get comp picks this year.


And if he can swing a trade to add to the cache of top-100 picks, how much easier might that make the next item on this off-season plan?


Make a Decision on Xavier McKinney

Xavier McKinney finished the 2023 season believing he was one of, if not the best safeties in the league, right in time for his next contract. Whether the league agrees remains to be seen, but it’s pretty clear that McKinney is going to follow the money bag as he looks to strike it rich.


Will that come from the Giants? Anything is possible, but considering the team has so many needs to address and limited resources (yes, even if they restructure contracts), they might not be in the best position to pay McKinney like a top safety.


That said, new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen’s system places a heavy reliance on safety play, and in McKinney, he’d have a versatile safety which would allow for a variety of different looks and assignments, all of which might make splurging on McKinney worthwhile in the long run.


The Giants could look to slap the franchise tag on McKinney, which would cost them $16.3 million, a rather hefty sum to tie up when so much is needed (franchise tagging Saquon Barkley would be far cheaper). With McKinney eyeing the big payday, if the Giants want him back and perhaps not willing to spend an exorbitant amount, their only hope is that the market doesn’t materialize for McKinney the way the safety reportedly thinks it might.


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